1 Thessalonians 5 … 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4 … Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! … Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I haven’t always found it easy to maintain an attitude of praise in prayer … to be honest, I haven’t always found it easy to pray with any depth or for any length of time. But recently I read something that set bells ringing, one of those occasions on which God answered a question I didn’t realise or remember I had asked.

Why should God demand praise? If we were to do that (any many of us do) it would rightly be considered boastful, arrogant. So why should we be expected to praise God at all times? (Psalm 34:1) Because, according to C S Lewis in his book, Reflections on the Psalms,

… an admirable object deserves or demands admiration in the sense that “admiration is the correct, adequate, appropriate, response to it,” and conversely that failing to admire it means we are “stupid, insensible, and great losers” because “we shall have missed something.” 

It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly at the turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then to have to keep silent because the people with you care for it no more than for a tin can in the ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with …

The article is long and dense, but well worth reading in full. My thoughts resonated particularly with the first section entitled, Why God Commands Praise, but I also valued reading the section on liturgical worship.